Top Chef Update: Boston's Stephanie Cmar Sent Home
After a truly solid run, No. 9 Park sous-chef Stephanie Cmar bid adieu to Top Chef: New Orleans last night, turning in her toque as the 13th contestant eliminated. Only five chefs remain: including Massachusetts native Nicholas Elmi, who recently opened his Philadelphia restaurant Laurel.
This season Cmar won two elimination challenges and had several more top tier showings. But she was cut last night when the elimination round placed her on a team with Elmi and former China Poblano chef Shirley Chung. Challenged to craft a five-course French meal using olives, almonds, mussels, chicken, and chocolate (while the opposing team used the same ingredients toward a Spanish end), Cmar actually excelled; the judges deemed the chicken liver and consume dish she concocted with Chung to be the best plate of the night. (Her solo course, pickled and poached mussels in crustacean jus and tomato, also received raves.) But the French team still lost the overall challenge. Both Elmi's dishes received scowls from the panel, but because he had immunity they were forced to send one of his teammates home. So Cmar was cut. ("Third time's a charm!" she later tweeted to a fan. Cmar also competed on Season 10, ultimately won by her Barbara Lynch Gruppo colleague Kristen Kish of Menton.)
Hopefully going out in a blaze of gourmet glory is some consolation to Cmar. (As is her recent honor among our Boston 30 Under 30.) Even Top Chef seemed sad to see her go: "We want to give a big shout-out to @StephanieCmar for not only being a killer Chef, but an all-around cool a** chick!" tweeted @BravoTopChef. Cheers to that.